Report | Digital Impact in Museums and Galleries
In 2020 when museums and galleries across the UK were forced to shut their doors, many museums took to online spaces to enable them to continue the valuable public engagement work that they had been building for decades.
Funding bodies responded by pivoting programmes to enable this work. The Museums Association adapted the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund and delivered a new funding stream, Digital Innovation and Engagement with thanks to support from UKRI and AHRC.
Between the Museums Association and Art Fund over 200 grants were awarded for this work. When museums and galleries reopened, many faced the challenge of combining in-person experiences with new online systems. Thanks to advance ticket sales, many were collecting audience data they hadn’t before, increasing their capacity to understand and potentially broaden their audiences.
Now, as a sector it is important to reflect upon this extraordinary experience. It is for this reason that the Museums Association and Art Fund jointly commissioned One Further and Cultural Associates Oxford to undertake an action learning research and evaluation project into digital impact in museums and galleries.
We wanted to help the sector assess the impact of work since the Covid-19 pandemic began and rebuild strategically. We want to help museums better understand the purpose and benefits of digital work, as well as the way it relates to and reinforces the work they undertake in buildings and community spaces, supporting their efforts to plan strategically for a hybrid and blended future.
We also want to build our own understanding, and that of funding peers, of how best to direct future investment in capacity building in the most effective and efficient ways.